Move to bulldoze Northgate House opens a deep divide

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COUNCIL leaders have confirmed they are studying a proposal for demolishing Northgate House and the Library but the move has caused deep divisions.

The council’s Conservative group leader Stephen Baines said he backed the proposal “100 per cent” while Halifax Labour MP Linda Riordan said it would rip the heart out of the town.

The Courier yesterday revealed how the Gregory Group, which is responsible for the Broad Street development, have offered Calderdale Council millions of pounds to buy its administrative HQ and the nearby library.

At the same time, the company would create space at Broad Street for a new library and archive.

Gregory’s says it has secured interest from Primark for a store on the old Northgate House site.

In a statement today, the council’s economy and environment spokesman Barry Collins, said: “We welcome the developer’s expression of interest in investing further in Halifax own centre and in helping us to address the current issues around Northgate House.

“However, we need to ensure that any future development of the Northgate site is carried out in a proper manner.

“That means ensuring a variety of developers have the opportunity to present their ideas and proposals.”

Councillor Baines said: “We got the idea that Northgate House should be demolished through the cabinet and the council in 2008 but the then opposition group had a change of heart.

“Our town centre lacks the sort of major retailer which can attract people and years of indecision mean that we have lost any advantage we might had in winning over shoppers from Bradford,” he said.

Meanwhile, the town’s MP has accused the council of ignoring local people by appearing to bring forward yet another scheme to demolish the library.

“This insane idea has already been brought forward twice and rejected out of hand by the Calderdale public – what has changed?

“It might appear to some people that the council is trying to push this through by stealth and it is no good for people to hide behind developers who are not elected or accountable to anyone.”

She said: “This would rip the heart out of Halifax town centre just to get some money into council coffers.”

Mrs Riordan said she would once again be working with the “Don’t Bulldoze Our Library” group.

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